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The Windy City Makes Waves for Peace, Equity and Justice in Palestine


By Stephen Lendman - Posted on 22 November 2010

The Windy City Makes Waves for Peace, Equity and Justice in Palestine - by Stephen Lendman

The suburban Chicago-based Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine (CJPIP) "is a diverse, community-based group dedicated to organizing activities and educational events that advance the cause of peace and justice for both Palestinians and Israelis."

It supports:

-- "equal rights and access to resources (equitably) based on" social, economic, environmental, and political justice principles;

-- peace and equal justice;

-- an end to Israel's illegal occupation and continuing land theft;

-- "an end to US policies that sustain the occupation;

-- international support for an equitable and just negotiation process;"

-- granting Palestinian refugees their right of return, guaranteed under international law; and

-- ending all forms of individual, organizational, and state-sponsored terror.

Selling It to Chicago Commuters

On November 20, Steering committee CJPIP member Caren Levy Van Slyke headlined, "End Military Aid to Israel message reaches thousands of Chicago commuters," saying:

Skeptics doubted it would happen, "and we were not too sure ourselves" whether it was possible to reach Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) commuters directly. Undaunted, they:

"designed an ad campaign with a simple, thought-provoking graphic and text message that runs counter to the false dichotomy that requires people to be either 'pro-Israel' or 'pro-Palestine.' Our ads show side-by-side photos of Israelis and Palestinians together with this three-part invitation:

'Be on our side. We are on the side of peace and justice. End US military aid to Israel.'

The ads direct people to our website: www.TwoPeoplesOneFuture.org, which contains content and action ideas for newcomers to the issue, as well as for issue-veterans." More on the site below.

CJPIP posters went up in CTA trains and downtown Chicago transit stations, used daily by thousands of Chicago commuters. Their central message is that:

"US military aid is counterproductive for Palestinians, Israelis, and Americans and will not lead to a just and lasting peace."

They also wanted word out that Washington signed a "Memorandum of Agreement" to supply Israel with at least $30 billion in military aid from 2009 to 2018," an amount likely to be increased. It amounts to a "blank check" to let Israel "do whatever it wants with impunity," even if it harms "American taxpayer(s) who (foot) the bill."

Other organizations involved include:

-- the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Chicago Middle East Program;

-- Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago (JVP);

-- Chicago Arab-Jewish Partnership; and

-- the Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy.

The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation also let CJPIP "link to invaluable action and informational resources."

Chicago Responds

"In just a few weeks, thousands of visitors have flocked to the website (TwoPeoplesOneFuture.org)." Hundreds more joined CJPIP's Facebook page, updated daily with new information.

After the successful campaign, "guerrilla marketing" momentum followed with 4" x 6" full-color Pocket Cards, "based on the popular Fast Facts page on the website." There's more.

"The campaign is spreading beyond Chicago," the above web site providing "how-to-get-started" steps to do it, hoping to encourage a national effort. With ads and a web site already created, a "campaign in a box" can be replicated anywhere. More still.

In Chicago, funds are being raised for another ad buy, the more received, the more people can be reached for peace, equity and justice in a part of the world where none now exists.

TwoPeoplesOneFuture.org

It states its beliefs, saying:

-- "We believe that peace is possible;"

-- that US policy obstructs it;

-- that achieving it is "our" business;

-- that current policy harms America's international standing and security;

-- that Israeli military aid diverts vital funds needed at home;

-- that providing it is dangerous and counterproductive; and

-- that challenging it in open debate is essential.

The site provides a wealth of information, including the roots of the current conflict, America's role, US and international law, how military aid harms all parties involved, information on the campaign to end it, and more.

CJPIP's web site (www.cjpip.org) provides information on its extensive activities, including:

-- community education;

-- organizing actions;

-- legislative activism;

-- walks for a just peace;

-- community partnerships; and

-- its travel scholarship offer.

Working for peace, equity and justice in Israel, Palestine, and America, CJPIP wants as many others committed as possible. The alternative is continued war, occupation, repression, and billions diverted from vital homeland needs.

Get involved. Contact CJPIP by email at justpeace1@aol.com, or write them at:

Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine
PO Box 3667
Oak Park, IL 60303

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

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"Signs that the BDS is biting"
by Renee Bowyer, MEMO, www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk, Nov. 22nd, 2010

www.uruknet.info/?p=m72074

On November 6th The Jerusalem Post published an article written by G. Steinberg and J. Edelstein titled, 'Turning the Tables on BDS'. The article discusses the need for Israel to implement a counterstrategy to deal with the BDS campaign (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions for Palestine). The article also explains how the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) in partnership with the Jewish Council of Public Affairs (JCPA), has organized an effort designed to discredit the main organizers and actors of BDS.

Steinberg and Edelstein stress how specific directors of some of the NGO's involved in the BDS campaign such as Nigel Parry, Ali Abunimah and Naim Ateek (from Electronic Intifada and Sabeel respectively) are supposedly anti-Semitic and preach for the destruction of Israel. In fact, there is an apparent confusion in the article between anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli commentary in general.

(snip)

This is a blatant case of 'demonizing' the main actors of BDS; an aim which Steinberg and Edelstein state as being central to discrediting and countering the successes of BDS. By speaking about a One-State solution, Ali Abunimah is talking about the only just and equal solution to the reality of Palestine; for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, for the Palestinians of '48, as well as for the Palestinians in the Diaspora; he is not talking about the 'elimination' of Israel. When the term 'ethnic cleansing' is used by NGO's supporting the BDS campaign, it is because of the reality on the ground. Israel massacred over 300 Palestinian children in Gaza and it barely reached the headlines. It can continue its policy of ethnic cleansing in Palestine and the West will turn a blind eye unless more people stand up, like the BDS campaigners, who demand an end Israel's immunity.

The tone of the article is aggressive and distinctly offensive. ...

BDS is not, as the article suggests, an international NGO whose aim is to destroy Israel; it is an organized campaign ....

(snip)

The world boycotted South Africa's Apartheid State and the sanctions worked. ...

Evidently true, but according to some recent or relatively recent articles, South Africa is in a very bad state of affairs for the population there, the real African population anyway. Apparently some or many things are worse than during Apartheid. I don't know if this is true, or how true it is, but if there's real truth to it, then this should not be overlooked.

With that said, however, things could not become worse for Palestinians if Israel's crimes were stopped and those crimes most absolutely have to stop.

(snip)

This grotesque situation has enraged people from every country in the world, and in 2005, they, refusing to wait any longer for governments to act against Israel, launched the BDS campaign.

Since then, the campaign has grown in strength and support around the globe and is doing more than many Palestinian support groups are doing to expose Israel's brutality as well as their manipulation of world markets. (For example the tagging of settlement produce as 'West Bank' produce was exposed by the BDS campaign).

But where the BDS is really growing in strength and possible effect is in the academic and cultural sphere. Musicians and artists are starting to say no to performing in Tel Aviv, and perhaps more importantly, academics are beginning to boycott Israeli institutions. In this way, BDS is having a very important adverse effect on Israel. The effect, in fact, cannot be underestimated, and it seems as evidenced in the article, 'Turning the Tables on BDS', that Israel is very aware of the threat and not happy about it.

In predictable Israeli manner, the authors of the article propose two ways to combat BDS. The first is to look for all organizations that are on the periphery of the campaign and win them over, or 'buy' them over possibly?

(snip)

The second area the anti-BDS organization threatens to attack is the funding level. ...

The BDS should definitely be able to meet every attack against it ....

The JPost article is not linked in the above article, but it's the following piece. I sought the link only in case any readers of this post want to read the article. And I'll excerpt from it further below, after the short excerpt from an article at JewsAgainstZionism.com, in order to add some resource links and possibly comments.

"Turning the Tables on BDS"
by G. Steinberg and J. Edelstein, Nov. 6th, 2010

www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=194275

The bio's for the two authors of the JPost piece:

Gerald Steinberg is professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and president of NGO Monitor, a Jerusalem-based research institution that promotes accountability and transparency among nongovernmental organizations that claim to protect human rights in the Middle East. Jason Edelstein is communications director of NGO Monitor.

Their bio's are of value to know about, including before reading the article; because they're promoting their organization as if it can be blindly trusted.

Maybe the following history is worth referrring to.

"The Zionist War on Nazi Germany"
(Daily Express, March 24th, 1933)

www.jewsagainstzionism.com/zionism/jewishwar.cfm

Most people are not aware that in March, 1933, long before Hitler became the undisputed leader of Germany and began restricting the rights of German Jews, the American Jewish Congress announced a massive protest at Madison Square Garden and called for an American boycott of German goods.

(snip)

When the Zionist "Jews" declared that war, and they literally called it "war", against Germany, was it merited? No; or I certainly think it wasn't, anyway. And Hitler reacted by simply saying that all Jewish-owned businesses in Germany would be closed for [one] day; wow. But now the Zionist "Jews", who are criminal as hell against Palestinians, as well as other people, including authentic Jews, merit being boycotted, and they complain, describing people acting in truly righteous terms as if they're wrong and evil.

I think we call that kind of behavior hypocrisy and sick.

The JPost article:

The North American Jewish community has taken an important step to counter the delegitimization campaigns targeting Israel. Directed by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) in partnership with the Jewish Council of Public Affairs (JCPA), the Israel Action Network should be a vital resource to combat these assaults.

To emerge victorious in this political war, the network must be armed with detailed information about the opposition, and implement an effective counterstrategy on this basis. This involves distributing information to college students and active community members, so they can name and shame the groups that lead and fund demonization. NGO Monitor and other groups can provide the Israel Action Network with this information without reinventing this particular wheel.

Iow, the "NGO Monitor and other groups" providing the IAN information on these so-called anti-semitic NGOs and activists can be [blindly] counted on for reporting the truth and only the truth, so supporters of (Zionist and criminal) Israel don't need to do their own research or read from any other sources. Now that's a scheme suitable to or for people who want to deceive and manipulate others.

(snip)

While the need to refute their allegations is clear, students and community groups must also adopt a proactive strategy to undermine the credibility and influence of these groups. This strategy will marginalize many of the BDS movement’s central actors, and expose the lie that BDS is a grassroots protest against Israeli policy.

WITH LIMITED resources, NGO Monitor has demonstrated that this approach can be very effective. Based on detailed research, the government of Canada cut funding ostensibly provided for human rights and development, but which was actually used for hatred and incitement. Similar discussions are under way in European governments regarding funding for some of the more poisonous NGOs involved in BDS.

Governments that are all guilty of extreme war crimes and many other crimes against humanity! Only [dishonest] people would use such criminal governments as if they're righteously lead and always righteously act. The Canadian government is extremely guilty of genocide and continues genocide, and that's only one of the national crimes of the government, which is also guilty of extreme crimes against populations of other countries, third-world ones, including Afghanistan and Haiti, but also in Africa and Latin America.

(snip)

For example, the organization known as Electronic Intifada is very active in BDS efforts, routinely abusing terms like “apartheid” and “ethnic cleansing.” Nigel Parry, a cofounder of EI, conflates victims of terror with terror leaders, and justifies Palestinian mortars fired into Israeli settlements by stating: “The dilemma in which the Palestinians find themselves is like that of a man who, falsely imprisoned for most of his life and demonized by society, finds himself in a dark room being raped by a highly decorated prison guard, when... he suddenly notices a rocket launcher lying within reach.” Parry also compared Israel’s targeted killing of Hamas head Ahmed Yassin to a “bus bombing.”

See the following two articles. The first one is about the above JPost article and Nigel Parry provides comments for what the JPost piece specifically says about what he's written. He doesn't deny anything and his views are valid, righteous.

"Turning the tables on BDS
...
Nigel Parry comments: View the editor's note below this article."

http://nigelparry.com/in-the-press/jpost-old-quotes-resurrect-article.shtml

"The message of the mortars"
Nigel Parry, EI, May 31st, 2001

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article928.shtml

Continuing with the JPost article:

EI’s other founder, Ali Abunimah, who appears on many campuses to promote BDS, calls for a one-state solution, meaning the elimination of Israel. Abunimah also compares Israel to Nazi Germany, referring to the Israeli press as “Der Sturmer.”

(snip)

I also did a Web search to try to find the article in which Ali Abunimah compared the Israeli press to the or a Nazi press and didn't find any by him, but did find the following article at EI mentioning "Der Sturmer".

"What's in a name? In a racist society, everything"
by Richard Irvine, July 29th, 2010

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11432.shtml

Names have always been political. Throughout history different regimes have used naming as a means of racial or religious identification. In Nazi Germany a 1938 law obliged Jews to add Sara or Israel to their names so as to eliminate ethnic confusion. And in my own country, Northern Ireland, even without a law, a name could determine one's success in life.

(snip)

In our society of course, refusal to contemplate a relationship with a person from another ethnic or religious background is described and denounced as racism or bigotry. In Israel it is now protected by law. The court found that indeed the young Jewish woman had in fact been raped, not by force of course, but by name. Finding the Palestinian guilty, district court Judge Zvi Segal stated, "The court is obliged to protect the public interest from sophisticated, smooth-tongued criminals who can deceive innocent victims at an unbearable price -- the sanctity of their bodies and souls."

Sadly, this all has very worrying historical echoes. It hints back to the Apartheid and Jim Crow Laws which presupposed dangerous Blacks waiting to pounce on virginal Whites. It also conjures up the notorious images from the Nazi publication Der Sturmer of supposedly lecherous Jews trying to seduce young Aryan Germans, no doubt also at the unbearable price of the sanctity of their bodies and souls. ...

The JPost article continues and it's a joke, a sick one, but still laughable; and I guess a valid interpretation is that the authors of the piece evidently [fear] the BDS campaign or movement. That's a good thing and very welcome, imo.

They don't have me worried, because people [sanely] for Palestinian rights and against Israel's hellish criminality [know] that this is the right position to take, so they or we won't be persuadable by sick attempts like the two authors of the JPost piece have committed to writing. The only people they could fool are people who are blindly pro-Zionist, sociopathic, and extremely ignorant, and I doubt that there's really anything people who are pro-Palestinian rights can do about this. What the latter activists and supporters can do is to just continue being for Palestinian rights and opposed to Israel's criminality, while demanding that governments supporting and protecting Israel cease doing this.

The pro-Palestinian people will continue to increase in numbers. We even have examples from former soldiers of the Israeli forces who have seen for themselves that what Israel's been doing is extremely criminal and must be opposed.

Worldwide, surely far more people are on the right side of this issue.

It's another organization that's part of the pro-Israel propaganda machine and I came across it while searching for articles by Nigel Parry and Ali Abunimah for my first post in this page. And this following article is certainly relevant with respect to what my first post's about.

"MEMRI is propaganda machine, expert says"
by InFocus News, June 1st, 2007

www.infocusnews.net/content/view/15069/302/

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) provides daily English translations of film and print media stories originating in Arabic, Iranian and Turkish media.

It also furnishes original analysis of cultural, political and religious trends in the Middle East.

(snip)

But according to its critics, it is also a dangerous, highly sophisticated propaganda operation, disseminating hate and disinformation on an unprecedented worldwide basis.

"They use the same sort of propaganda techniques as the Nazis," Professor Norman G. Finkelstein, a well-known scholar on Israel/Palestine, told InFocus. "They take things out of context in order to do personal and political harm to people they don't like."

Take the case of Professor Halim Barakat, a novelist and scholar associated with the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University.

In 2002, he published an article on Zionism in London's Al-Hayat Daily, but says that in certain instances, MEMRI selectively edited what he wrote.

"I know how to make a distinction between Judaism and Zionism, but they distorted the article," Barakat told InFocus. "They left out certain things and tried to make it look anti-Semitic."

(snip)

Far from being a Holocaust denier, Finkelstein's own parents were Holocaust survivors, a fact he has often spoken about.

But MEMRI was able to create the opposite impression, as Finkelstein demonstrated on his Web site, by editing out large chunks of the actual interview.

(snip)

MEMRI's obsessive interest in protecting Israel derives from the people and interests that founded, fund and manage the institute's international operations.

It was founded in 1998 by Yigal Carmon, a former colonel in the Israel Defense Forces (Intelligence Branch) from 1968 until 1988, acting head of civil administration in the West Bank from 1977 to 1982; and Israeli-born Meyrav Wurmser, an extreme rightwing neoconservative now affiliated with the Hudson Institute.

Meyrav is married to David Wurmser, at one time an American Enterprise Institute "scholar" and then a State Department apparatchik under John Bolton.

Both participated in the collective writing of "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," a seminal 1996 neocon document that advocated an end to negotiations with the Palestinians and permanent war against the Arab world.

They also worked with Douglas Feith, Elliot Abrams, Richard Perle and other rightwing ideologues who promoted and embellished the fiction that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.

(snip)

... Especially troubling are suspected links between MEMRI and the current Israeli intelligence establishment.

According to a 2005 article in Israel's Ha'aretz, the Israeli Defense Forces plants fake stories in the Arab media, which it then translates and tries to retail to Israeli journalists. How much of MEMRI is simply an extension of such IDF operations?

(snip)

Ken Livingstone, mayor of London, accuses them of "outright distortion," and former CIA case officer Vince Cannistraro has written that "they (MEMRI) are selective and act as propagandists for their political point of view, which is the extreme-right of Likud."

With characteristic bluntness. Norman Finkelstein has written: "MEMRI is a main arm of Israeli propaganda. Although widely used in the mainstream media as a source of information on the Arab world, it is as trustworthy as Julius Streicher's Der Sturmer was on the Jewish world." (Der Sturmer was a rabidly anti-Semitic newspaper, and Streicher a notoriously cruel Nazi.) (my emphasis added)

(snip)

That whole article is certainly worth reading in full.

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